US-brokered ceasefire proposed on fourth day of fighting in Sudan
(Update: adds detail throughout, edits lead, headline)
Khartoum, Apr 18 (EFE).- The Sudanese army and paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces on Tuesday agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire, proposed by the United States, to ensure the safe passage of civilians and allow for the wounded to be evacuated.
The ceasefire will begin at 6pm local time on Tuesday, Sudanese army leader Abdelfatah al-Burhan confirmed to US broadcaster CNN and Sudanese military council member Shams al-Din Kabbashi told Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya.
Earlier, RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as ‘Hemedti’, said on his official Twitter account that he accepted a 24-hour armistice.
The news of a potential ceasefire comes after at least 144 civilians have died and more than 1,400 have been injured in Sudan since fighting broke out four days ago between the army and the RSF, Sudanese medical sources said.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) warned that the tally, which was lower than the 180 provided on Monday by the United Nations, would likely rise as there were areas it has yet to reach because of the ongoing violence.
Heavy explosions were heard early Tuesday morning near the army’s headquarters in the center of the capital and near the airport, according to multiple local and Arab television stations.
Witnesses also reported heavy clashes between RSF troops and army soldiers in southern Khartoum, while armed forces jet fighters bombed a paramilitary group position in the north of the city.
The CCSD said the number of deaths and injuries “is increasing at an exponential rate” and warned of the “dire consequences” of the loss of life, as well as “the difficulty of evacuating and accounting for the dead, injured, stranded and other detainees.”
The situation in hospitals “is getting worse” as many health centers “are out of service due to the missile attack, power outages and shortages of supplies and aid,” the committee said.
On Tuesday afternoon, a nurse’s residence at a hospital in Khartoum was bombed and “completely destroyed”, although no casualties were reported, the CCSD said.
“While we condemn in the strongest terms this ongoing war, we appeal and demand the opening of safe passages to treat the sick and wounded, and to deliver supplies of food and medicine,” the doctors said in their report.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that a US diplomatic convoy was attacked Monday in Sudan by the paramilitary forces.
All the members are “safe” after a “reckless and irresponsible” incident involving vehicles with diplomatic license plates, Blinken said.
Hemedti said he spoke with Blinken on Tuesday to reiterate his commitment to safeguarding the lives of civilians in areas under RSF control.
“We spoke of Sudan’s pressing issues and our common dedication to freedom, justice and democracy for our peoples,” Hemedti said.
He said it is necessary to “protect” the people and defend their values, as they “reluctantly participate in this war.”
UN special envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes told a press conference Monday that three aid workers from the World Food Program had been killed while trying to serve the Sudanese in North Darfur.
In total, 250 UN programs of all kinds have had to be interrupted and millions of people are without access to food, water and other vital services because of the fighting, according to the organization.
The Red Cross on Tuesday requested a humanitarian corridor to help those in need, saying it has been “almost impossible” to send aid to the capital.